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Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County holds annual fundraiser

NOW: Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County holds annual fundraiser

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Hundreds laced up their bowling shoes Sunday to help support the Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County's 34th annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake.

Mentors along with their mentees and community members filled Chippewa Bowl to help guarantee there are many more matches in the years to come.

It costs on average $1,000 a year to recruit, screen, train and supervise each big brother/big sister match.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Board President TJ Jorgensen didn’t think the event would have a huge turnout, but people began registering at the last minute.

“The last two weeks everyone started to get in and it’s been amazing to see all these people here knowing their number one goal is to help raise money in our community, it’s incredible,” said Jorgensen.

People who came out to bowl have been gathering pledges and raising money to turn in at the event. But that was one of a few ways to donate.

“You can raise money by buying 50/50 tickets. People buy tickets the other half goes towards the organization but you can also do an arm’s length of tickets for $20.00, so people are looking for the tallest person in the room to do a full length with,” Jorgensen said.

Statistics show having a mentor will improve a young person’s focus on their future.

Jorgensen has been both a big and little brother and knows firsthand the benefits the organization can have in a child’s life.

Chelsea Twyman and 10-year-old Kyah Ukovizava were just paired a few months ago and so far it has been a perfect match.

“It's really rewarding to be a big sister. Kyah's family is great and they're very involved in her life and very supportive but we do something on building self-confidence,” said Twyman.

Ukovizava says she enjoys her big sister, especially being out of the house.

“It is fun because I get to go places and it's fun because Chelsea is very nice and I get to go out of the house sometimes finally because normally I’m just inside watching TV on the couch,” Ukovizava said.

Jorgensen says the organization needs more mentors to make more of these perfect matches. He added, a few hours a few times a month can make a difference in a child’s life.

“There are over 60 kids on the waiting list right here in South Bend and they are waiting for a mentor. We need people to step up and offer a few hours a month that’s all you need; take them out for ice cream, a Notre Dame game. Just spend time, that’s all young people want,” said Jorgensen.

If you would like to be a part of the Big Brother Big Sister organization in St. Joe County; click on this link.

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